3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME C
DO YOU LOVE THE WORD?
Each time there is a Catholic festival like a procession or some tradition, bashers from all over social media sprout like wild mushrooms. They denounce the devotion to the Hesus Nazareno as unbiblical. They ridicule the Santo Niño as mere human invention. What they do not understand and do not care to understand is branded negatively as against the Word of God.
As Catholics we have grown accustomed to this prejudice and discrimination of these people, some of them even close to us in our daily and personal lives. We know their criticism springs from ignorance. Their accusations are a product of misinformation. For who can be most faithful to the Word of God than the church that produced, safeguarded and proclaims the same Word from the beginning until now.
The truth however is that while Protestant churches, Pentecostals, Evangelicals and other sects refer to themselves as biblical, our church is not primarily identified with the Bible. It is humbling but true, and we must admit. We produced the Bible, but we do not truly appreciate it and utilize it to form our faith and to guide our lives?
How many Catholics read the Bible regularly? How many join study or Bible sharing groups? How many join fellowships, listen to radio or tv commentaries, or read materials that pertain to biblical topics? Be honest! Be humble to say the great majority of us don’t do this. And yet, other groups develop their lives around the Bible and its teachings.
Once I read Pope Benedict’s catechesis where he clearly said that he who makes the lectio divina (prayerful reading of the gospel) at least 10 minutes a day will be a holy person. The pope does not invite us to devour the Bible, to memorize it, to read it from cover to cover. He asks only for 10 minutes. And that’s very difficult for us Catholics to do! 10 minutes is just too long.
And how much time can we afford to spend texting friends, watching youtube videos, or following up on Fb, twitter and Instagram accounts? Is it therefore a real sacrifice to read the gospel and reflect on it for at least 10 minutes a day?
Today is Bible Sunday and the readings show us how the Israelites longed for the Word of God. In the gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ displayed his love for the Scripture by reading it and applying its message to his heart. At a time when many unbelievers and ignorant politicians ridicule our Christian faith and our Catholic practices, how can we defend our faith when we do not know what it really contains. No wonder, amidst the weekly bashing against our church, the majority reply with a deafening silence.